Political Repression and Child Labor: Theory and Empirical Evidence
Most normative studies on child labor arrive at the conclusion that child labor is detrimental to social welfare. Child labor is, however, still prevalent in many developing countries even though in many of these countries it is forbidden by law. In this paper we develop a political-economic model that explains lenient enforcement of existing child labor legislation. The most important implication of our model is that in countries with repressive political regimes enforcement is more lenient and child labor thus more prevalent than in countries enjoying political freedom. We test this implication and find that it is confirmed by the data.
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